BLANCHESTER — A torrid start and a strong finish helped the East Clinton girls basketball team defeat Blanchester 57-47 Monday night at BHS.
East Clinton (3-2 overall, 2-1 in SBAAC National Division) started the game with an 11-0 run. It forced the Lady Wildcats (3-2, 2-2) to play catch-up all night.
“We wanted to come out and see how Blanchester would handle the pressure,” EC head coach Jeff Craycraft said. “It did give us a good start, but like every good team, (Blan) adjusted.”
Blanchester cut its deficit to 18-16 just two minutes into the second quarter. A Dakota Watters basket capped an 11-3 Blan run.
As was the case all night, East Clinton had a response. Baskets by Kayla Hall and Mackenzie Campbell, and two Kaitlin Durbin free throws pushed the EC lead back to eight. The Lady Astros led by five at the half.
In the third quarter, Blanchester made another run to pull within a point. A basket by Shelbie Rose, free throws by Elicia Patton and a basket by Asia Baldwin got the Lady Wildcats as close as they would be all night, trailing 30-29.
“Every time we made runs, we were attacking the basket in transition,” BHS head coach Bradon Pyle said. “When we did that, we made some really good runs. When we didn’t, they got a nice lead on us.”
Paige Lilly stopped the Blanchester run with a three to give EC a four-point lead.
“The big shot was when it was 30-29 and Paige Lilly came down and hit a three,” Craycraft said. “That was a big answer.”
Lilly’s three led to another EC spurt, as the Lady Astros went back up by 10. Blanchester cut its deficit back to four as the fourth quarter began.
Rose’s basket 90 seconds into the fourth quarter pulled the Lady Wildcats within two, 46-44. Blan got no closer, as East Clinton outscored Blanchester 11-3 the rest of the way to finish off the victory.
“They’re a really skilled team,” Pyle said. “It’s not easy coming back from behind against a team that doesn’t make a lot of mistakes and doesn’t get flustered easily.”
Lilly led East Clinton with 17 points. Durbin scored 12, including a perfect 8 for 8 from the line. She also had seven rebounds and four steals.
Watters led Blanchester with 10 points and eight rebounds. Asia Baldwin just missed a double-double, scoring nine points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
Blanchester pulled down 23 offensive rebounds, but shot just 28 percent from the floor (17 of 60) and 50 percent from the line (10 of 20).
Craycraft said the way the Astros finished the game is something that can give his team confidence as they continue SBC play.
“We’re trying to learn how to close out a game,” Craycraft said. “This was a good test. The kids hit some big shots and made some big plays.”
Dec. 11, 2017
@Blanchester High School
East Clinton 57, Blanchester 47
(57) EAST CLINTON (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Lacey Peterman 5-1-0-11, Mackenzie Campbell 4-1-2-11, Paige Lilly 7-1-2-17, Kaitlin Durbin 2-0-8-12, Bre Davis 2-0-0-4, Kayla Hall 1-0-0-2. TOTALS 21-3-12-57.
(47) BLANCHESTER (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Shelbie Rose 3-0-0-6, Asia Baldwin 2-0-5-9, Olivia Gundler 3-2-1-9, Elicia Patton 1-1-4-7, Lana Roy 1-0-0-2, Dakota Watters 5-0-0-10, Regan Ostermeier 2-0-0-4. TOTALS 17-3-10-47.
FIELD GOALS: EC 21/57 (Lilly 7/14, Peterman 5/11, Campbell 4/10); B 17/60 (Watters 5/10, Gundler 3/13)
3 POINT FIELD GOALS: EC 3/9; B 3/14 (Gundler 2/7)
FREE THROWS: EC 12/14 (Durbin 8/8); B 10/20 (Baldwin 5/13, Patton 4/4)
REBOUNDS: EC 39 (Davis 8, Campbell 7, Hall 5); B 46 (Baldwin 12, Watters 8, Gundler 6, Ostermeier 6)
ASSISTS: EC 11 (Campbell 4); B 11 (Baldwin 5, Gundler 3)
STEALS: EC 11 (Durbin 4, Campbell 3); B 8
BLOCKED SHOTS: EC 4 (Davis 2); B 7 (Gundler 5)
TURNOVERS: EC 16; B 21
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bymattsexton.